On Saturday, June 11, the Library and the Board presented the Friends with a plaque at Jensen Lakes Library recognizing our donation toward new furniture at this library. Below are remarks shared by Friends President Graeme Matichuk at the event:
Thank you to everyone for joining us here today.
Our donation of $25,000 to the Jensen Lakes Library was made possible by Valerie Spink, one of our founding members, and the casino volunteer team she organized in 2020. The Friends of the Library unanimously voted in support of this donation and were excited to hear that we would be recognized with the Friends Coffee Corner.
Many of us were here two and a half years ago at the Jensen Lakes Library grand opening. And many of us were on the ground in the years before, advocating for this additional site. We strongly believed then, as we do now, that investing in our library’s growth is important work.
Since 1988, we have donated over $250,000 to the Library, thanks to the efforts of Friends past and present. But it’s about far more than the money. Our work is an expression of support for library services, for the good of our community.
We know that libraries will be there for you, especially when you need them the most. When kids are off school for the summer, the reading game helps them maintain their reading skills. When seniors are looking to learn more about technology, library staff show them the ropes. When newcomers arrive in St. Albert, library staff connect them with resources. People of all ages find solace in books for education and recreation. This work is important.
The Friends of the Library will always share our library love in all the ways we can, for as long as we can, to build a more enlightened and equitable world.
The best way to build a better world for our children is to fight for our public libraries.
The Friends of St. Albert Public Library gather every year to reflect on the past calendar year, present our major donations, and look ahead to the next year. Our AGM on May 4, 2022 recaps our year from January to December of 2021.
Our year began with everyone curled up with a book at home, when we would usually be holding the winter Reel Monday season. The Arden Theatre had once again closed for a few months from December 2020 to early spring due to COVID measures, but the Friends continued our monthly virtual Zoom meetings.
From February to March, we held our first-ever Purdys Chocolatier fundraiser. Our fundraising committee signed up for the Purdys online system for St. Albertans to place orders for Easter treats, with the Friends profiting 25% of the sales. Through this fundraiser, we were able to donate an additional $1,200 to the children’s summer reading game above our usual $3,000 amount, totalling $4,200 for 2021! The children’s summer reading game featured both in-person and virtual programs – in true form with the new pandemic normal – and we felt that it was a great initiative to continue supporting.
We held our AGM in May of 2021, during which we recapped the 2020 year and elected our new executive team. Our new Board was formed by Graeme Matichuk as President, Marketing Chair, and Interim Treasurer; Verla Carter as Vice President; Sandy Fildes as Secretary; and Valerie Spink as Casino and Fundraising Chair. At this AGM, we donated $13,000 to Jensen Lakes Library, which capped off our total donation of $25,000 to the mini-library in St. Albert’s north end. These donations, from casino fundraising, paid for some of the furniture at Jensen Lakes Library.
We were thrilled to hold a fall Reel Monday season after the unusual winter season hiatus, with four films exploring a range of topics: The Father, The Public, French Exit, and In The Heights. The Public, in particular, was a heartwarming film for all the library supporters who attend Reel Monday season after season.
Our team gratefully acknowledges the discounts provided by the Arden Theatre and Criterion Pictures to allow us to maximize our donations to the Library. We appreciate our Reel Monday attendees who were patient with the ever-changing pandemic restrictions. All profits from Reel Monday will be donated to the STARFest Fall 2022 season.
We are also grateful for the Library Board and the staff of the Library, especially Leslie Greentree for promoting our events and Rhonda Kozuska for financial and administrative support.
The Library introduced the opportunity for the Friends to donate toward the Library’s endowment fund – the St. Albert Future Fund – and we committed to donating $1,000 annually in support of this fund.
My endless gratitude goes to the Friends of the Library Board and Members who have maintained their dedication during some of the most difficult years. While so many Friends groups have dwindled during the pandemic, our team has grown closer and shown our love for the library in all the ways we can.
As a lifelong reader and library lover, I felt that joining the Friends of St. Albert Public Library was perfect for me. It means so much to me that as an organization, the members of Friends have contributed substantial funds to support the Library over many years. We’re a small group but we make a big difference!
Sandy Fildes, Friends Board Member/
Why did I join the Friends? To help promote the incredible value of the library to our community.
Joanne Root, Friends Member
The library has been a place of journeys for me for many years. First as a young reader growing up in Red Deer, the weekly trek to the library was one of my first solo outings. When our children came along, many years later, We introduced them to the joy of library outings through story times, and special events held there. Having the time now in retirement to join The Friends of the Library, has shown me that the library continues to be an essential service. People of all ages, backgrounds, and needs find help to connect with resources, learn new skills and meet new people.
Verla Carter, Friends Board Member
Interested in supporting the Friends?
We are a group of library lovers supporting the St. Albert Public Library.
“In a world of changes, contributing to the health of your library is one of the only legacies that really lasts. And in building a legacy for your loved ones, you’re also investing in a more literate, more enlightened world.”
Every spring, the Friends of St. Albert Public Library gather at the Library for our Annual General Meeting, reflecting on the previous January to December year and tying up loose ends before our summer break. This AGM in May of 2021, we gather virtually to reflect on all that we did in 2020.
2020 kicked off with the grand opening of Jensen Lakes Library in the north end of St. Albert. The Friends were excited to attend this event to celebrate the long-awaited expansion of our Library. Through our casino fundraising, which involves many dedicated volunteers on our Friends team and other library supporters, we committed to donating $25,000 to Jensen Lakes Library, beginning with $12,000 in 2020 and $13,000 to follow in 2021.
Early in the year, we created a CanadaHelps profile for online donations, allowing us to accept ticket sales, donations, and membership dues with greater convenience. Many Reel Monday attendees this season used CanadaHelps to purchase their tickets, and we received additional donations from individuals.
When we returned to regular meetings in September after our summer break, we held our first-ever virtual meeting. Our 2020 AGM was held in October during which we elected our Board. This meeting marked the end of Valerie Spink’s exceptional term as President of the Friends, having started her Friends volunteering around 1992 and holding a variety of Board positions over the years.
Sports journalist Mark Spector and former mayor of St. Albert Nolan Crouse hosted a hockey talk event over beers and finger food at Endeavour Brewing Co. in February, with funds supporting STARFest.
Our 16th Reel Monday season included five films, two of which were screened before the pandemic: Where’d You Go, Bernadette? and After the Wedding. In March, the COVID-19 pandemic forced the rescheduling of our remaining three films (Judy, The Good Liar, and Ford v. Ferrari) due to the temporary closure of the Arden Theatre.
In March, St. Albert Public Library facilities closed under the new public health restrictions. Our passion for supporting the Library was only strengthened through the pandemic, with library staff developing new ways to fulfill educational, social, economic, and recreational needs of St. Albertans. We were impressed with the curbside pickup, virtual programming, and pivoting between facility opening and closure through each wave of public health restrictions.
To better reach our Friends supporters, we introduced an email newsletter inspired by the Story Lines newsletter we published in the 1990s. We publish this newsletter quarterly – once each season – to share news on events and fundraisers. The Friends launched a website at http://www.friendsofsapl.ca that is now our go-to information hub for all things Friends.
We were fortunate to have one of the final casino volunteering dates before casino volunteering was suspended due to public health restrictions. These casino funds contributed toward our $25,000 of donations to Jensen Lakes Library. We look forward to our next casino in 2022.
We were pleased to hold the October and November Reel Monday screenings successfully under strict COVID-19 safety protocols, after rescheduling these dates in September, and were saddened to cancel the December screening due to the second wave of the pandemic. We are grateful for the patience and cooperation of all Reel Monday attendees, especially those who have been dedicated supporters for many years, and the unwavering support of City and Arden Theatre staff.
The Friends donated $6,000 to the St. Albert Readers’ Festival (STARFest), raised through our Reel Monday film series. Instead of an in-person series of author talks, STARFest was held via virtual live streams in the fall.
In a year like no other, we were proud to continue supporting the St. Albert Public Library and the incredible library staff who provide library services in rain, shine, or pandemic.